15 Juillet 2014
An anti-feminist campaign where women post pictures of them holding a note explaining why they don't support the feminist cause is currently creating a buzz on the internet. A journalist from Rue 89 goes through the worrisome allegations about feminists those notes imply. She half joked that someone should translate an older article from Madmoizelle.com into English for those ladies to read. I decided to do it, because even though I think my readers are already quite feminist, my blog is based on the idea of shared knowledge between French and English speakers. Therefore you will find here the original articles with my translation attempt. Enjoy!
Une campagne anti féministe de Women Against Feminism fait en ce moment le buzz sur internet: des femmes se prennent en photo brandissant un papier sur lequel sont écrites la ou les raisons pour lesquelles elles ne veulent pas être féministes. Une journaliste de Rue 89 s'inquiète du portrait abominable que ces "arguments" dessinent de « la » féministe. Plaisantant à moitié, elle enjoint quelqu’un à traduire un article plus ancien de Madmoizelle.com sur les fausses excuses pour ne pas être féministe, afin que les demoiselles de Women Against Feminism puissent le lire. Mon blog reposant sur le concept d'un partage d'idées et de savoirs entre francophones et anglophones, j'ai tenté de me lancer dans ce projet de traduction. Voici donc les deux articles en question suivis de leurs traductions.
Cette traduction est une tentative personnelle de rendu en Anglais des idées énoncées dans cet article. Elle n'engage ni l'auteure de l'article originel, Maia Mazaurette, ni Madmoizelle.com, les éventuels changements de sens et différences d'interprétation sont uniquement de ma responsabilité.
This translation is a personal attempt to communicate the main ideas presented in this article in English. Neither the author of the original article, Maia Mazaurette nor Madmoizelle.com are responsible for this translation. Any change in meaning or difference of interpretation is my responsability.
Because, sometimes, it feels, like any excuse is good enough.
Unless you’re against women’s rights, it’s going to be complicated to disagree with feminists, simply because their positions are incredibly diversified. If you think that men come from Mars, you’re an essentialist feminist: you think there’s a feminine “essence” as well as a masculine one. If you think that we’re humans above all, you’re an anti-essentialist. If you think that behaving “like a woman” is mostly something that is learned, your beliefs are closer to those of social constructionists. And the list of types of feminists doesn’t stop there (Wikipedia will give you a more complete outline). Some feminists are in favor of porn and prostitution while others are against it and support women who stay at home. Others encourage successful professional careers for women. Most are in favor of every way of life, as long as it ensues from an aware choice. Not agreeing with feminists doesn’t mean anything. Only in France, for instance between Elisabeth Badinter and Clementine Autain, there’s a huge gap! Polemics like the one about the Islamic veil reflect those oppositions. The only thing that brings feminists together is the will to protect and develop women’s rights. It’s hard to be against that.
Words ending in -ism very often refer to concepts. Concepts are what you use to create meaning and intelligent discourse. If you don’t like –isms (eroticism?) then your problem has nothing to do with feminism but rather with intellectual laziness. Just saying.
Anti feminists often quote the « Chiennes de Garde » (watchdogs) as an example of this. Only, the CdG are media-centered, because the media are where they strike. Outside of this vicious circle (feminists talk about media, so media talk about feminism) there are organizations tackling rape; violence, for instance in poorer areas; salary inequalities; the freedom to abort; etc. Important subjects are not forgotten. It’s only that the media don’t cover them, or don’t much, or only on March 8th. Then again, it’s necessary to define what “wrong fights” are. Symbolically, the feminization of titles and appellations (e.g. director/directress) would be a huge breakthrough. Sure, it doesn’t feed you in the tough times, but it might help young girls dream about a career as a “surgeoness” rather than as a midwife. When you rank struggles you’re far from actually taking action.
Well, they would gladly stop doing so, but, since the situation is not evolving, demands don’t either. Similarly, it would be seen as silly to accuse anti-racism activists of always repeating the same thing.
That’s wonderful. None of this stops you from being a feminist and wanting a better life in general, just like no one will put a gun to the back of your head to require that you use all of the rights you’re guaranteed (I don’t feel like I’m required by contract to abort at some point). Furthermore, even if you have a retro lifestyle you’ll probably enjoy a ban on domestic violence.
Seriously? Salary inequalities, violence, sexist education, the lack of women in politics, the glass ceiling, none of these ring a bell? Ok, fine. Anyway, you can’t go too far when it comes to equality. You can’t be half equal or too equal, either you are, or you’re not (and as for now, you’re not). It should be noted that often, people who oppose feminism complain about equality, for it would “make us all the same.” It’s only that: 1) Equality doesn’t mean identity, you can be equal and different, otherwise the first amendment of the Declaration of Human Rights would force us to clone people. 2) There’s already a kind of feminism that agrees with that view: essentialist feminism, which is quite present in France.
This is generally associated to the following statement: In feminism there is « femme ». And in humanism there is “human”, that doesn’t mean humanists hate trees or animals. Therefore, let’s calm down: there are plenty of feminist organizations that welcome both genders. So you can run into men there and even bring your boyfriend. Feminism (or at least some branches of feminism) protects fathers’ rights, supports gay people, encourages paternity leave and is seeking a path to a modern masculinity. This isn’t easy. Feminism needs more men who are ready to tackle those questions.
Feminism changed the way genders interact, that’s for sure. Men are currently reinventing masculinity and if some do chose to use beauty products and push strollers around, when society advises them to stay impassive and powerful, it’s probably because they really feel like it. Today, men are earning the right to be men in any way they please. It is not our job to judge them when they are just starting to emancipate themselves. Moreover, when one talks of “real men” one shouldn’t forget that one did not experience being around the 50’s male. I bet it wasn’t so fun!
No. Absolutely not. A craving for revenge would imply that feminists want more rights for women than for men, which would be an aberration. The large majority of feminists want to change the world to live in peace and move on. Then, one sometimes hears bitter remarks because some feminists lived through bitter experiences, the kind that the new generation has not in mind. My mother had to take sewing classes as the boys were playing soccer. She had to clear the table as her little brother watched her do so. Wounds don’t heal in an instant. When a feminist says something that sounds over the top, instead of reacting by saying something like “SEE I TOLD YOU THEY’RE ALL FUCKING HARPPIES” one should wonder about what she lived through. I disagree with some of the old guard members that claim we have to liberate ourselves from sex, but I understand that having to cope with a shitty sex life at a time when female orgasms were the last thing husbands cared about is sort of a heavy background. The best thing to do is ask questions. And give one’s opinion when there’s a disagreement.
In fact, here’s a piece of news: feminists don’t spend their time talking shit about men. What they have a problem with is patriarchy, that is to say, the system through which men are considered more valuable than women. But if anyone has heard of feminists committing sexist crimes against men like rape, violence or constant belittling, let me know. Feminism never killed anyone*, contrary to sexism.
*Not to call feminists murderers, but it probably actually did (at least one suffragette died when she threw herself under a horse).
That has always been an invalid argument (and even if we were, would it be good enough a reason to keep it shut?), but what’s more important: the third wave feminism is widely supported by pro-sex feminists. Those pro-sex feminists can be porn actresses, sexologists, prostitutes, performance artists, “Suicide Girls”, female porn movie directors or sex-toy creators etc. And regarding the alleged ugliness of feminists, does anyone think that Clementine Autain or Caroline Fourest are ugly? What about Lady Gaga. Drew Barrymore, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Uma Thurman ? *
*A part from the fact that I would know some crazy people (hem) who would call Lady Gaga ugly, I have to say that I don’t completely agree with the author’s way of putting things here. I don’t know if enumerating pretty feminists is constructive, but most of all, if I had written this article I would have underlined how insulting it is that some people discard women’s fight for rights by claiming that it roots in some men’s weak sexual performance. That brings us back to the ultra patriarchal system of thought where everything depends on the men’s virile abilities.
Anti sexism and feminism, that’s all the same. But “feminism” is a swell word with a swell background story. Anyway, you do what you like. It’s just sad not to pay homage to the loads of women who fought for and gained rights under this appellation. Especially as –sorry for repeating myself-- there are several branches of feminism.
Yes, it’s true that people often react in some way or another when someone tells them she/he is a feminist. But the people who want to make you feel bad about something like that will also make fun of your clothes, you nose, your cellulite, your temper, your cat, whatever… You can’t escape teasing. Being a feminist is fucking ridiculous? If tomorrow, every girl claimed to be a feminist, things would be different. Plus: you can be a feminist and have a self deprecating sense of humor, it isn’t incompatible.
Not all of us have activism in our blood. But I think it’s possible to be a feminist without making our lives more complicated. First of all, by telling people you’re a feminist you accept to be one of the faces of this struggle (if you don’t want to discuss it because you’re afraid you’re convictions are a bit too fragile, just say “I don’t want to enter a debate; that is going to last forever”*). You don’t need to justify yourself. In your everyday life, you can try to show more solidarity towards other women, to share household chores more equally or to avoid sexist norms in your children’s education. Those are things that can be achieved easily*. In the end, what matters, is to occupy the field. To be a feminist is to say “I’m here.”
*Again, I don’t know if I agree with that part. Avoiding debate because you don’t know what you’re talking about seems like you have a little more thinking to do. Otherwise, it just seems like you’re repeating something an authority has made you think is legitimate even though you didn’t make sure for yourself.
* I’m not so sure it’s so easy when it comes to children’s education. I can’t imagine a child would agree with his/her parents throwing his/her Disney Dvd collection away because he/she agrees with the feminist cause.
Ok, maybe you can’t be a feminist.
Cette traduction est une tentative personnelle de rendu en Anglais des idées énoncées dans cet article. Elle n'engage ni l'auteure de l'article originel, Renée Greusard, ni Rue89.com, les éventuels changements de sens et différences d'interprétation sont uniquement de ma responsabilité.
This translation is a personal attempt to communicate the main ideas presented in this article in English. Neither the author of the original article, Renée Greusard nor Rue89.com are responsible for this translation. Any change in meaning or difference of interpretation is of my responsability.
These women brandish the reasons why they’re not feminists on the wonderful Tumlbr “Women Against Feminism” and its matching Facebook group. You can be grateful: thanks to them we can finally formulate the definition of a feminist (yes, there is only one type of feminist).
Feminists don’t like people. To them, they’re dreadful, mean monsters. What feminists like are women and women only. And like the Spermulites in Spermula, they want to invade the planet.
Feminists NEVER cook for their significant other. They prefer eating testicles. Of course, it’s the emasculated victim that will cook its own equipment while twisting in pain (dirty feminists will always refuse to even touch a pan).
Everyone knows this: feminists never flirt. Therefore, they hate it when people look at their breasts.
The body hair matter is one of the more fascinating facts about feminists. What? You didn’t know? They let their body hair grow wild. And Bigfoot… do you get it know? It’s a feminist! Yup.
Female oppression? Purely and simply made up. Besides, if women really were oppressed, you could see it more clearly on their faces. Well, if the female body is used to sell things, is incessantly commented on, or validated or invalidated it’s not because they’re “objectified”, it’s just because people feel like it. Of course.